On the Market - Fulham, Autumn 2013
Fri 20 Sep 2013
Alex Lyle looks at the continuing rise of the Fulham property market and how the demand for property has now spread beyond the traditionally more desirable areas
So far, 2013 has been a fantastic year for the Fulham sales market. Like the rest of prime London, Fulham continues to experience a staggering imbalance between supply and demand, with 28 buyers for each available property for sale through our Fulham and Bishops Park offices. Every time a new record price is reached, its not long before its surpassed to the astonishment of many. Of course, this is to the delight of local home-owners, but the despair of those buyers still trying to secure property.
The creep of gentrification has spread through the streets, even to places most buyers entering the area would have cast a polite, thanks, but no thanks just a few years ago. As the area becomes increasingly desirable, it attracts an even wealthier set of buyers with bigger budgets, which in turn has made Fulham one of the best performing property markets in London. This wealth spiral is most certainly set to continue with only seasonal pauses for breath likely to impact market activity.
The Peterborough & Moore Park Estates, Hurlingham and the Alphabets continue to be old favourites for people moving out of the Royal Borough and we are achieving great prices in excess of 1,000 per sqft. Weve recently sold three houses on Moore Park Road, one of which for 3,525,000 a new record for the street. Also, on Bovingdon Road, weve sold three houses, two of which sold to international buyers (one from Paris and one from Dubai) and despite being instructed alongside two, well-established international agents, its clear to see that buyers are just as, if not more, comfortable using a local agent with in-depth market knowledge and an award-winning level of service.
What is interesting however, is that the discount in premium paid for what some would see as less desirable areas such as property for sale in Munster Village, The Villes and the Crabtree Estate is narrowing. For example, in 2011 we sold a house on Wardo Avenue for 686 per sqft; we sold the same house earlier this year, in the same condition for 877 per sqft, an increase of nearly 30%!
Flat sales have also maintained impressive price growth of around 13% on average since the start of the year and in some cases, up to 20% year on year. In addition, its not only prime roads that are commanding record prices. We recently sold a flat on Petley Road for well in excess of the 525k asking price following 25 viewings and five offers a record price for a flat on the road.
In fact, weve seen a marked increase in demand for all types of property on the Crabtree Estate. With the re-development of Fulham Reach complementing the existing charm of this stretch of the river, often over-looked, this quarter of Fulham is showing off its virtues loud and clear: Fantastically positioned for any commuter, the area is sandwiched between Bishops Park and Hammersmith Bridge making it a popular retreat for families and young professionals alike. The houses are larger than similar properties found in more central areas of Fulham, with much larger gardens. Importantly, many of the terraces in this area comprise purpose built Edwardian and Victorian flats, offering much better living space than more contemporary conversions. This section of the market continues to be buoyed by the bank of Mum & Dad, giving their offspring a leg-up onto the property market, whilst using the asset as a fantastic investment vehicle. For those who can, its a no-brainer, as paying off a mortgage continues to be cheaper than paying a landlords rent.
As we move through the Autumn market, we will experience continued high demand for property. Theres a positive feel in the air the market is now moving at the bottom aided by government initiatives including the Help to Buy scheme, which is freeing up valuable mid-ladder buyers and will no doubt be accelerated in 2014 with the introduction of the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantees for home movers (not just first time buyers). For this very reason, now is a great time to sell your property the inevitable increase in stock levels next Spring, will likely reduce the premium currently being paid.
Sylvie Bahmanyar looks at the increasing demand for one-bedroom properties, the changing dynamic of corporate rentals and the arrival of a more balanced lettings market
The traditionally busy lettings season is in full flow and demand from tenants is across the board families, corporate relocations, sharers and professional couples are all seeking property in the SW6 area. However, with more property on the market compared to the same period last year, its essential that landlords present their property in the best possible light and at the right price so they dont fall victim to void periods.
There is currently a constant supply of two-bedroom flats, mainly due to an influx of buy-to-let investors swamping the market. For years, two-bedroom properties have been considered the best rental investment, with the widest appeal, but in some cases we have seen prices for two-bedroom properties soften. However, the basic supply and demand principle still exists and well presented two-bedroom properties in sought-after locations will not sit un-let for long. Interestingly, the same cannot be said for one-bedroom properties, which appear to be in higher demand than ever. One-beds that tick all the boxes in terms of specification, size and proximity to the tube are competing with some two-bedroom properties on price, especially if they have access to outside space. Tenants are seemingly forgoing a second bedroom in favour of better living space, which is a new trend in Fulham. Fortunately, to satisfy this demand, we are taking on an increasing number of one-bedroom flats from young professionals who, wise to Fulhams rental appeal, are deciding to keep their first property as a rental investment. They know that Fulham is, and always will be, a popular rental haven with great returns and a capital appreciation to rival some of Londons most sought after addresses.
Since families have returned from their summer holidays, we have noticed a significant increase in the number of relocation agents searching for family homes specifically in the Peterborough and Moore Park Estates. These enquiries tend to come via our Corporate & Relocation Services department who report a 42% increase in the number of high-end searches (which we consider to be over 1,500 per week). We have recently rented a beautiful four-bedroom family home on Moore Park Road for 1,650 per week to a French family wanting to be close to one of the nearby French schools. The number of French removal vans parked up in Fulham in the last few months has been notable!
The increase in high-end searches is a result of changes in the corporate world. Global companies are now more focused on relocating their senior staff, as the need for experience across all markets is seen as a key attribute for future business leaders. London is, of course at the centre of this emerging trend and we have agreed 25.5% more corporate tenancies compared to the same period last year a large proportion of these to European re-locatees. Just a few years ago, these same companies were preferring to relocate more junior employees to save on ex-pat packages. This emerging trend would also explain the rise in rental property coming onto the market, whose owners are leaving their homes and therefore London to spend a few years working in foreign cities.
There has been a shift in the profile of professional sharers, who are now much more likely to fit into the corporate category. Whilst Fulham property lends itself to attracting sharers, those with smaller budgets are being pushed further out and were achieving rents as high as 800 per week to corporate sharers who are very often in their 30s and working in the City. The demand is so high that just this week, we let a four-bedroom property on Dawes Road within 24 hours, for 785 per week.
Whereas last year there was a stark shortage of property to let and vast tenant demand, there is now a much more healthy balance of both property and tenants. Landlords can generally expect similar rents to this time last year (some are achieving a little more and some a little less), but when you consider the 15-20%, on average rental rises in the previous two years, it is still a great time to be a landlord!